Here are some minimal health and nutrition guidelines for prospective plasma donors to keep in mind:
Eat a healthy, balanced meal before your donation.
Eating properly ensures that the bodily impact of a plasma donation is minimized. Eating also increases your blood flow and makes it easier for the phlebotomists to find your veins.
Eat foods that are high in protein and iron.
Given that plasma contains proteins, eating a balanced diet with a focus on proteins will ensure that you are in the best condition every time you donate plasma. Foods high in iron (such as lean meats or leafy green vegetables) are also important, as they help maintain your hemoglobin levels, one of the measurements that Canadian Plasma Resources uses to screen its donors. If your hemoglobin count is too low, we may have to reschedule your appointment.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol or fatty foods before donating.
Before a donation, caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate your body. Fats in fatty foods are carried in your plasma, so if you have a fatty meal before your donation, it will show in the donated plasma. This fatty plasma can interfere with some laboratory tests, making your plasma unusable. These foods should be avoided in the 6 hours leading up to your donation.
Avoid smoking before your donation.
Smoking causes your veins to constrict, reducing blood flow and making it harder for our phlebotomists to find a vein during the plasma donation process. Smoking may also cause you to feel lightheaded after your donation.
Know when to see your doctor.
Plasmapheresis is a low-risk procedure with minimal or no side effects. However, if you feel ill or unwell during the donation process, you should immediately notify one of our staff. Our on-site physician or nurse will examine you. If you feel lightheaded immediately after the procedure, lie down and rest for a couple of minutes and be sure to drink fluids during this time. If you feel ill after the donation process and are at home, we encourage you to contact your family doctor. If you feel it is an emergency, please call 9-1-1.